A Lagos High Court on Monday sentenced to death by hanging Maj. Hamza Al-Mustapha, the Chief Security Officer to the late Gen. Sani Abacha, for the murder of a pro-democracy activist, Mrs. Kudirat Abiola.
Kudirat was one of the wives of the late Chief MKO Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.
Justice Mojisola Dada sentenced Al-Mustapha, along with Kudirat’s aide, Lateef Shofolahan.
Dada said that evidence before the court was weighty and showed that the duo conspired and killed Kudirat on June 4, 1996, near the Ikeja end of the former Lagos-Ibadan Toll Gate.
The judge said that the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubts that the duo met between March 1995 and June 4, 1996 to plot the murder of Kudirat.
She said that the court believed the evidence of the first prosecution witness, Barnabas Jabila (a.k.a. Sgt. Rogers), that the murder was plotted at the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos.
Dada also said that the court believed Jabila’s evidence that Al-Mustapha gave him (Jabila) his personal gun to shot Kudirat inside her white Mercedez Benz Beast, near the toll gate.
“The second defendant willingly handed over Kudirat Abiola to her killer. The court is a fact-finding tribunal which must be seen to be doing its work without any bias and ambiguity.
“ The first and second defendants jointly agreed to kill Kudirat Abiola. The defendants are found guilty of conspiracy and murder.
“ The evidence is so weighty that the court has no doubts. The defendants are, therefore, found guilty, as charged.
“The light shines in darkness and darkness comprehends it not. Those who shed blood are those who fear death most.
“The defendants are accordingly sentenced to death by hanging until they are proved dead,’’ the judge held.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the prosecution team led by the Solicitor-General of Lagos State, Mr. Lawal Pedro, expressed satisfaction at the judgment.
However, the defence team, led by Mr. Olalekan Ojo, said it would appeal against the judgment.
The judgment was delivered under tight security.